|Co-Authors Isabel Roman|
|1972, First Release|
Today, romance books don’t contain that level of description (some literary fiction does but I find myself skimming that, too). So the question remains. How much detail do you like in a book?
In SHADOW STATE, the historical details were kept to a minimum. Most readers of historical romance know at least the general outline of Hitler and the Nazis, so it wasn’t necessary to include that. Plus the very notion of Nazis makes people think of the ultimate evil. No further description seemed necessary.
However, I did go into details on certain things--where Elsa worked, the street she lived on, an architect’s name thrown in. No one cares, no one can pronounce the street (unless you’ve taken German) and unless you’re into German hospitals Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz means nothing.
But it’s all real, even the speedometer problem on Elsa’s Mercades as she’s driving north. Did researching this take a lot of time? Yes. Am I upset only a small, small portion made it into the story?
No. Why? Because I like these sorts of details in my historicals. I don’t need to know every last detail of every last historical item that the character probably already knows but is now thinking about for my benefit. But I like to read enough to know that not only does the author know what she’s (or he’s) talking about but also to sprinkle in the world the story inhabits. Small pieces of what the hero and heroine see and experience--furniture style, street names, artists and art houses. The way I spell werewolf in the story, the German way: wölfes for wolves, wehrwölfe for werewolf. A small way to add in the details that make romantic fiction so good.
Your turn! What do you like to see in your stories--long details on streets and histories and shipbuilding? Or less specific but just as important points? Or do you fall somewhere in between?
SHADIW STATE, originally in TAMING OF THE WOLF anthology, now available for 99¢ on B&N.com, All Romance eBooks, iBooks, and Smashwords. Coming soon to Amazon, Sony, and Kobo.
A warm sensation flooded her at his name despite the imperativeness of the situation. She ruthlessly squashed it under the urgency of the moment. In her letter to Christoph, sent this afternoon by Pack messenger, she’d also clearly stated they were back in Germany. Still, now was not the time for fanciful thoughts of her Clan’s Alpha.
“I dispatched one the moment we heard.”
“I’ve warned you. Twice you’ve skirted my warnings and assisted those children. Now our worst fears are realized.” Gerard von Skyler stared straight at his daughter.
“Under these new policies they would’ve been euthanized!” she exclaimed.
“The policies are not our concern. We can no longer trouble ourselves with the humans. Understand that, Elsa.” Gerard stood, his normally clear face florid with anger.
Her father had a formidable temper, one she’d inherited. Today she’d seen it directed fully at her.
“One of our Clan has been captured, something that has not happened in modern times. We’ve seen what horrors they do to twins.” He waved in the general direction of Charitéplatz 1 where their research hospital stood. “And to those with the most common anomalies. With the leaps in science these past decades, I dare not think what they would do to us.”
He pounded his chest and she could see the fear in his eyes, the blue she’d inherited from him flashed darker. His wölfe pushed close to the surface.
“The one concern we have is the survival and safety of our Clan.”
“I’m aware,” she bit out through clenched teeth, her own fear making her temper sharper, her wölfe clawed to be released, “that because of these policies we’re all in danger. The course they take with their eugenics studies at Kaiser Wilhelm is absurd. What they do to humans’ affects us. You’ve seen it at Charité!”
“Your actions,” he continued with more calm but no less fear, “brought the suspicion of the Department of Scientific Inquiries down on us. Now we’re faced with one of our own in the clutches of that maniac Strasser. They’ll watch us closer than ever.”
“Erik is in mourning,” she shot back.
“True. To see his mate torn apart by a looting mob is something I wish on no man, human or wölfe.” Gerard agreed with a pain she knew stemmed from his own wife’s death in the bloody aftermath of the war. She remembered her mother’s scent but little else. On rare occasions, she could hear her voice, a distant melody of love.
“It doesn’t change the facts—he’s endangered us all.”
“Even though he’s no longer a member of our Pack,” Elsa stated though her father knew this, “but of Ursula’s. The responsibility fell to the van Dietrich Pack when they mated. With his capture, it’s all our duty to protect him.”
“They know what he is,” her father insisted. “There were witnesses we’ll never be able to find. The Nazi’s know what Erik is and where his family is from. This will destroy everything we’ve worked for.”
The very thought of killing Erik made her ill. For years, her father worked to find a cure for their dwindling population, she alongside him once her schooling was completed. To kill a member of their Clan…She couldn’t bear it, not when her instinct told her to protect the Clan at all costs.
More, she wasn’t sure they could do it. The logistics of getting past the guards to Erik were hard enough, but with so few scientists working on his case, suspicion would instantly fall to them. And the Nazi’s were not a forgiving group.
Gerard’s unspoken words hung heavily between them. If they helped Erik escape, or worse were forced to do the unthinkable, there was a strong chance they’d have to leave Berlin, too.
Part of Berlin’s elite for centuries, the von Skylers had status, power, and connections. If they moved, all they’d worked so hard to achieve in the interest of their people would be destroyed.
In the end it didn’t matter. They had to protect the secret. Whether they evacuated Berlin or not, they’d planned for that long before Germany was a unified country. They’d do what they had to in order to survive.
“The choice is unclear. Escape is what we all want but we may be forced,” Elsa swallowed hard. “We may be forced to end Erik’s suffering.”
Isabel, thank you so much for that tense excerpt and your comments on detail, with which I very much agree. Oooh, you cover is frightening enough that I'll have to order it in the daylight.